UF Dorm Designed For Disabled Students Getting An Expansion.

A unique program at UF that serves students with disabilities is getting bigger.
They have specialized dormitories to help make their everyday activities easier, and soon those dorms will be able to house even more students.
The reason this expansion is needed is because right now every room in the dorm is full, and there are plenty more students who need these types of dorms to be able to get the education they desire here at UF.

One of the special offerings of the Cypress Hall dormitories is a lift system to get disabled students easily out of bed and around their rooms.
UF's Director of Disability Resource Center Gerardo Altamirano explained: "UF is one of two facilities in the nation that has lift systems integrated in the resident hall dwelling and the only institution which is a top ten public research institution."

Gerardo Altamirano says providing opportunities for every type of student is a priority for the university.
" this institution really cares about having a space for everyone to be able to come and to learn and to be successful."
And for the students living in Cypress Hall, it helps them to have the independence college students crave.

Robyn Clarke told us about how living in Cypress Hall has helped her in her quest for an education. "Just being able to enjoy being a college student and not feel quite as confined and controlled by the limitations of the disability."

Clarke who has cerebral palsy says small things like bars which just need to be touched to open doors is a huge relief to her.
"for me opening a door takes a lot of energy and a lot of effort and I would finish it and just be completely exhausted. So now I don't have to worry about that and open doors freely and be able to enjoy what I'm doing."

And last spring, the first-ever Cypress Hall resident was able to graduate and now has a full-time job in Jacksonville says Altamarino.
"He graduated just last spring and is now an educator, a teacher. His journey was impactful and really is going to change the trajectory of employment for people with disabilities specifically mobility impairments right."

Currently there are 11 rooms available for disabled students, however, the new expansion set to be finished in 2019 will increase that number to 19.